The joy of an integrated environment

Most of my GNU Emacs learning time has continued to be spent writing elisp. I am very slowly starting to retrain myself on a couple of basic keystrokes: M-g M-g (goto-line) and M-% (query-replace) are two biggies, because my use of ido-ubquitous mode actually means that my default use of M-x to get to both of those is disrupted—the minibuffer no longer autocompletes in the same way, so if I’m going to have to relearn how to get to them, I should really re-learn the short versions.

Anyway, I did want to take a moment to sing the praises of the GNU Emacs Help facility, because it has been invaluable. Specifically C-h f (describe-function) and C-h v (describe-variable). While the help they give is necessarily brief, it’s often enough for someone like me, who just needs a gentle prod about something now and again. I even used C-h f to look up the documentation for if a few minutes ago, because I couldn’t remember if you had to do progn to do a multi-statement else block.

So that’s it for today. Learn the rich set of commands that let you get right to what you need in the documentation—it will be invaluable for exploring emacs.

Do it again (again)

Q: How did I not know about this? A: You never read the manual.

(A close friend of mine from college with whom I’ve worked professionally now and again, once suggested that the secret to our individual successes was that we were the ones willing to read the manuals. Obviously in this instance I failed.)

Oh, good lord, the number of times I’ve done M-x UP RETURN RETURN to re-do query-replace on a new buffer, when I could have just done C-x ESC ESC (repeat-complex-command).

Yeah, I realize that it’s really only one fewer keystroke, but I can do that set of keys more efficiently. And I suspect that if I’m paying attention, I will find that I have far more opportunities to use it than just speeding up search and replace operations.

Of course, M-x list-command-history is a great complement to it, to see what you have done recently. It will be interesting to play with—I was honestly surprised at the contents when I tried it just now.